There are many climatic changes facing South Africa which already have, or are projected to have, a detrimental impact on human health. Here the risks to health due to several alterations in the climate of South Africa are considered in turn. These include an increase in ambient temperature, causing, for example, a significant rise in morbidity and mortality; heavy rainfall leading to changes in the prevalence and occurrence of vector-borne diseases; drought-associated malnutrition; and exposure to dust storms and air pollution leading to the potential exacerbation of respiratory diseases. Existing initiatives and strategies to prevent or reduce these adverse health impacts are outlined, together with suggestions of what might be required in the future to safeguard the health of the nation. Potential roles for the health and non-health sectors as well as preparedness and capacity development with respect to climate change and health adaptation are considered.